Author Topic: LCR meters: Hantek 1833C / Keysight U1733C / Peak LCR45 (comp. review teardown)  (Read 1586 times)

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Offline exit_failure

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Since my Lecroy 9354AM blew up a couple of weeks ago and I suspected bad capacitors in the power supply (I’m still looking for the problem) I felt the need to own a cheap-ish but usable LCR meter. I have a Keysight U1733C as a loaner right now, but I will have to give it back soon. I already own a Peak atlas LCR45 but I was never really satisfied with that one. Therefore, I decided to get a Hantek 1833C.
This review got quite lengthy, but I still hope that it is of use to you.
 



General overview

Keysight U1733C (https://www.keysight.com/gb/en/support/U1733C/handheld-lcr-meter-100-hz-120-hz-1-khz-10-khz100-khz.html)
So ich was looking for a LCR meter. Right now, I have access to a Keysight U177C which, in my opinion is a very good meter, although it does not have 4-wire measurement capabilities (only two-wire + guard). The only minor gripe I have with the Instrument is, that the push in contacts on the device are very stiff, which makes it hard to insert components with thinner leads. On the flip side this means that you get very good contact while measuring. Unfortunately, at around 500€, it is too pricey for me. The optional SMD tweezers are “only” around 35€. The PC interface is about 45€. You can also buy an AC adapter for the device, which would be another 40€, if you buy the original one. Otherwise, it runs on 9V (6LR61) batteries which can be changed via a door on the back. The meter draws about 19 mA and should have a maximum battery life of about 28 hours, assuming the device is able to use the cells entire capacity.
The device has never been calibrated but measurements always seemed quite reasonable. Therefore, I will use it as a reference in the measurements later on. I know that this has a few problems, but I unfortunately this is the best instrument I currently have access to.
I will have access to a stack of three Keysight 34460A 6.5-digit benchtop mustimeters in the coming weeks. I will update the resistor measurements in the spreadsheet at the end of this post as soon as I have the results.

Hantek 1833C/TO22 (http://www.hantek.com/products/detail/16180)
The 1833C or TO22, which seems to be an alternative model name for the same device, will ccost you around 170€. The first thing you might notice about this meter, besides the large colour screen, is that it is quite large compared to similar devices. The reason for that is, that Hantek has reused a case you will also find with some of their portable oscilloscopes. It is also quite heavy (Hantek 1833C: 550g, Keysight U177C: 330g). This is mainly because it has two rechargeable 2600mAh 18650 cells inside. With about 1.5 mA standby current you’ll have to recharge the device at least every six months. The meter does not have auto power off and takes about 100mA while powered on. That should give you 45-50 hours on a single charge The batteries are even socketed so you can exchange them relatively easily should they ever come bad or if you want to swap them out with higher capacity cells.
The USB-C charge port sits very deeply inside the case which is why Hantek the meter USB with a USB-A to USB-C lead with a very long USB-C connector. The connector is recessed so deeply inside the case that plugging in standard cables can be a challenge. The USB connection also doubles up as a connection to your PC. When connected to the software provided on the manufacturer’s homepage, the controls on the device itself are completely disabled. The meter is also able to handle a set of SCPI commands which are documented in the manual.
The inserting components into the push in contacts is much easier than with the Keysight but this also means that the quality of the electrical connection is sometimes a bit worse.
The other accessories in the box are a sturdy carrying case, two ok-quality 25cm alligator clip leads, a shorting bar for calibration, a 5V USB power plug. Although the meter supports proper 4-wire measurements, Hantek does not offer any other accessories for the meter like Kelvin test leads or SMD tweezer. I am a bit puzzled as to why that is since it seems only logical to sell those alongside such a device. Nevertheless, there seem to be compatible attachments out there. For example, the Keysight SMD tweezers will fit on this device, but they do not offer the befit of four-wire-measurement.

Peak atlas LCR45 (https://www.peakelec.co.uk/acatalog/lcr45-lcr-impedance-meter.html)
I also have a Peak atlas LCR45 which I got very cheaply earlier this year. It usually costs around 110€. It comes with two spring loaded hooks which connect via 2mm(!) banana plugs. They plug into 2mm jacks which are attached to about 25cm of wire that is permanently attached to the device.  The leads can be spread apart about 20cm Apart from the manual, there is nothing else in the box. The device runs on 12V (8LR932) batteries. They only have about 50-60 mAh and at a consumption of around 5.5mA you will only get a maximum of about 10 hours of battery life. This is probably also why the auto power off is sometimes shorter than the time it takes for the instrument to settle on a stable measurement. To change the cell, you have to loosen three self-tapping screws that are screwed directly into the plastic housing.
 
 
Features and modes 

Keysight U1733C
The Keysight has a basic accuracy of 0.2%. The primary measurements are Z, L, C, and R. The secondary ones that can be displayed besides those are D, Q, and Theta. ESR, unfortunately, is displayed like a primary measurement which means that you cannot display the capacity and the ESR of a cap at the same time. The meter allows to select between parallel and series measurements but blocks the option with a beep if switching to would not make sense.
The offered frequencies are 100Hzt, 120Hz, 1kHz, 10kHz, and 100kHz. Which, in my experience, should cover most use cases.
The U177C offers automatic component recognition, a min/max/avg/mode, full manual and automatic ranging and an adjustable tolerance mode.
The tilt stand allows all buttons the be pushed safely without the meter falling over. If you decide to get the IR-USB adapter having the meter on the stand is the only way to use it properly since the adapter stick out downwards for about 8cm. Not a terribly sensible solution, if you would ask me.
One thing I did not like is the fact that the meter always goes back to its standard settings (auto mode, 1kHz) after being power cycled. 
 
Hantek 1833C/TO22
The device has a base accuracy of 0.3%. The offered measurement frequencies are: 100Hz, 120Hz, 400Hz, 1kHz, 4kHz, 10kHz, 40kHz, 50kHz, 75kHz and 100kHz although I am not yet convinced that one would need that many different frequencies. In fact, paired with the circumstance that the instrument can react a somewhat slowly to button presses, switching between 100Hz, 1kHz and 100kHz feels a bit clunky.
One odd thing is the manual ranging. First, it is only labelled with Ohms on the OSD no matter what you are actually measuring. But the strangest thing is that it does not do anything to the displayed range, rather it changes some of the values as you can see in some of the pictures below. Hantek really need to fix that. At the time of writing, I am using the most recent firmware from their website (20201010AM).
Furthermore, I am not sure how Hantek get the claimed resolution. The only ADC in the entire device is the 12-bit one built into the ST ARM processor.
Apart from that you get R, C, L, and Z as primary and X, D, Q, Theta, and ESR as secondary measurements. You can switch between parallel and serial measurement (if it makes sense or not, the manual will give you some hints as to when use what), change the measurement signal level from 0.6 to 0.3V and have a min/max/avg mode. The self-calibration takes painstakingly long and you have to remember to run it twice, once with open and once with shorted probes. You also get a compare mode with adjustable tolerance levels.Then there is the issue that it claims have some measurement ranges that simply are not there.  istvan58 found out that in 40/50 kHz mode the manuals claims that the meter is able to measure capacitors up to 100uF. Unfortunately, with a capacitor that has around 12uF, the meter displays out of range already when using the included alligator clip leads. When Using the internal terminals, I can measure the cap in 40kHz mode but 50kHz still shows out of range. A 4.7uF capacitor (5.2uF at 100Hz) shows 9.2uF at 100kHz when using the leads and is still 16% out (claimed 8%+20d) when using the build in terminals. Admittedly, the Keysight seems to have similar problems with this one.
As a last thing I found to be lacking: The tilt stand could do with an overhaul. Every time I pop it out, it feels like it wants to break. Also, it is not solid enough to keep the meter from tipping over when you press buttons.
 
Peak atlas LCR45
The LCR45 has only two buttons and except for magnitude and phase angle only displays one measurement at a time. This means that keep pressing its two buttons a lot. Changing the measurement mode or frequency takes too long as well, especially if you are doing that quite a lot.
The instrument has no 100/120Hz and no 100kHz mode. Instead, it has a “DC” mode where it applies a short DC burst to the DUT and 1, 15 and 200 kHz modes which, in my opinion are of limited usability since, for example, most datasheets specify a capacitor’s characteristics at 100kHz or sometimes at 10 kHz. It almost seems like Peak cut out the most useful modes on purpose which does not really makes sense since the LCR45 is their top-of-the-line LCR meter.
Furthermore, you get no dissipation factor, quality factor and no ESR. The only displayed values besides L/C/R are the reactance and admittance, the phase offset, the complex impedance, and the magnitude of the impedance. Sure, you can take the real part of the impedance and theoretically have the ESR and you can calculate Q and D with the frequency, phi and the capacity/inductance but still… why not just do that for me? Also, you cannot switch between parallel and series mode.
 

Conclusion

Keysight U177C
The Keysight delivers stable and repeatable measurements und reacts very quickly to any button presses. Apart from the fact that the ESR cannot be displayed as a secondary parameter this instrument feels good to use and I would have bought it immediately if it were 200€ cheaper. But that is probably just the broke student talking, who is a bit sad that he has to give the meter back soon. Still, comparatively this is one of the more expensive general-purpose handheld LCR meters you can find.
 
Hantek 1833C/TO22
If you read the last section on the Hantek meter you might think that I don’t like it very much. In fact, I think you get a lot of bang for your buck. It is relatively accurate when compared to the Keysight, has a rechargeable and exchangeable battery with good battery life, 4 wire measurement capability, a large display, and a sensible set of features. Hantek absolutely need to fix the manual ranging bug, but the auto ranging is good enough for what I am doing. BUT: I would absolutely NOT recommend the meter for professional use. For hobby use it is perfectly fine, I think, but when I had to depend on it as part of my job there are just too many issues with it. Also: Ditch the included leads. The ones that came with my meter were quite subpar.
 
Peak atlas LCR45 After using the LCR45 for about a month, I must admit, that I do not like this meter. The Handling is clunky. The measurement accuracy is not that great, but they are at least repeatable to a degree.   All in all, I do not think the price for the instrument is justified. If it were, say, around 50€ maybe the meter would be worth a second look but not at more than double that. This is especially that case because you can get meters like the UNI-T UT612 for a very similar price. I have not used the Uni-T meter myself but looking at the datasheet and at what comes in the box, I would think that it should be the better choice by far.
   

Test results, teardown pictures, and waveforms
 
Attached you will find a spreadsheet with comparative measurements between the following instruments:
  • Keysight U1733C
  • Hantek 1833C/TO22
  • Peak atlas LCR45
  • Brymen BM867s
  • UniT UT61E
  • UniT UT70A
  • TC1 component Tester
Furthermore, there are teardown photos of the meters and screengrabs of the measurement signals of the three LCR meters. I also got the waveform of the ubiquitous 15€ ebay component tester (TC1 variant) just for kicks. You can download a zip file with all of the images here:

https://www.linkmypics.info/lcr_comparison/lcr_meter_comparison.zip
 
Unfortunately they were too large to attach them all to this post.
 
 I am eager to hear any comment or criticisms you might have. :-)
« Last Edit: June 08, 2021, 11:03:28 am by exit_failure »
 
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Offline exit_failure

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What I forgot to mention: This is the first time that I am doing a proper instrument comparison. Please feel free to share any thought about what I could do to improve this test specifically or my overall methodology.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2021, 11:50:02 am by exit_failure »
 

Online HighVoltage

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Nice comparison

I have the Keysight U1733C and the Peak LCR45 and I use them both.
For in-circuit testing of capacitors I have the additional Peak ESR meter and it works really well.
There are 3 kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those who can not.
 

Offline Dwaine

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I have the Hantek 1833C and really like it.  I like the rechargeable batteries and USB-C connection.    It's nice to have a colour display.

 

Offline exit_failure

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Quote
I have the Keysight U1733C and the Peak LCR45 and I use them both.
Since you have both of them: Can you confirm my findings pertaining to the relative accuracy?
 
 
Quote
For in-circuit testing of capacitors I have the additional Peak ESR meter and it works really well.
I had a quick glance at the manual for the Peak ESR70. That's exactly where they are hiding the 100kHz test mode. It is really disappointing that you have to get a separate device for that. The LCR45 and the and ESR70 combined then cost more than the Hantek. What a shame. 

/edit: fixed formatting
« Last Edit: May 30, 2021, 12:59:36 pm by exit_failure »
 

Offline thm_w

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Good comparison.

ESR of 19 and 25 ohms seems incredibly high for 4.7nF capacitor. Wonder if there is any simple way to confirm which value is right, if either at all.
I know you can add a known series resistor and see if it measures that correctly.
 

Offline exit_failure

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Quote
ESR of 19 and 25 ohms seems incredibly high for 4.7nF capacitor. Wonder if there is any simple way to confirm which value is right, if either at all.
I've used some known bad-ish caps on purpose with the tests but something seems to be VERY wrong with that cap. I just measured it again and I now repeatedly get around 400Ohm on the Keysight and around 800Ohm on the Hantek. Maybe I should take it out of the comparison since it seems to be a complete wildcard

That's the little rascal by the way:
[attach=1]
« Last Edit: June 01, 2021, 12:55:42 am by exit_failure »
 
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Offline istvan58

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Hello,
I just bought a TO22 LCR meter from Banggood, but physically get the 1833C, I think they  are the same.
After some testing I found that the capacitor measurement at 40-50KHz works just up to 10uF but user manual saying at 40-50KHz the range should be up to 100uF.
Does anybody tried to measure some 10...15uF capacitor at 40K...50K?
see my video when measuring a 10 and 15uF capacitor.



« Last Edit: June 08, 2021, 10:00:09 am by istvan58 »
 

Offline exit_failure

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Quote
Hello,
I just bought a TO22 LCR meter from Banggood, but physically get the 1833C, I think they  are the same.
After some testing I found that the capacitor measurement at 40-50KHz works just up to 10uF but user manual saying at 40-50KHz the range should be up to 100uF.
Does anybody tried to measure some 10...15uF capacitor at 40K...50K?
I have the same behaviour. I tried it with 47uF capacitor and one that  normally reads around 12uF with both the meter shows "------" (out of range) in 40 and in 50kHz mode.
I will add this to my review, when I have time.
 

Offline istvan58

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please try with a 10...15uF foil capacitor to see.
I sent my observation to Hantek but no response yet.
Could be just mistake on data sheet. Or maybe there is some bug on the latest firmware.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2021, 10:51:20 am by istvan58 »
 

Offline exit_failure

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The largest foil cap that I have around, is only 1.5uF. That one measured fine. I made some measurements with electrolytics, though. I amended the 'features and modes' and 'conclusion' sections of my review accordingly.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2021, 11:11:55 am by exit_failure »
 

Offline istvan58

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Thanks for testing.
Let's wait to see what Hantek will replay.
I also opened a ticket on Banggood, "the instrument not meet the specification"
 

Offline istvan58

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Hello,

got this answer from Hantek today:

"Greeting from Hantek.

Noted. We will give update firmware to you to solve the issue this Friday. "

 

Offline TheBay

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I've tried loads of ESR and LCR meters and was not happy at all with the Peak ESR meter, I have a EVB ESR Meter (Cx Series) from Portugal, I can highly recommend looking at https://www.evbesrmeter.pt/ If you want something for ESR.
I also was not impressed by the Peak DCA either and found that the cheap "Transistor Testers" work better, I'm not a fan of the Peak form factor with their silly attached short leads and the use of that 12V battery that doesn't last five minutes.

Regarding LCR meters, I use a Axiomet AX-LCR41A (No idea who the OEM is) which works very well for me and in addition to that I use a cheap LC-100A (Good version with the leads on the right) which is very handy to have for emergencies/working on something you don't trust or don't care if it gets damaged.
 

Offline istvan58

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So I did more measurment with Hantek, really disapointed.

Measured 2 electrolytic capacitor : nr1=22.1uF , nr2=22.1uf, connecting in parallel shows 41uF...so is not linear.

Other strange behavior:
 
MKT foil cap : nr1=15,3uF nr2= 15.1uF  both has ESR aprox= 0.21Ohm.  Connecting in parallel C= 30.6uF (acceptable) but ESR = "-0.32Ohm"   really strange. Disconnecting cap nr2 value shows 16.5uf for nr1 and ESR "-3.3Ohm" ???? to high and negative.
Then disconnect nr1 and reconnect value is again OK. This behavior happens only on 100/120 Hz range. Not in 400Hz.
Also not happens at any frequency with capacitor under 4.7uF.   
This happens only on "auto range" or "manual 10 Ohm" setting to manual 100 Ohm is OK.
I don't understand what means range 10 Ohm, 100 Ohm...in capacitance mode?? 


I thinking to send it back to Banggood....
Will write a review to Hantek as well to see what they are saying.
 
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Offline thm_w

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Maybe whoever wrote the firmware forgot to change the text for manual range options: 10 Ohm, 100 Ohm, to 10 uF, 100 uF, etc
 

Offline istvan58

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not sure about range.
I was made some test , I think range is refer to Xc. I have calculated the Xc for 15uF and 30uF at 100hz, is about 100 and 50ohm.
Probably the meter measure the Xc and calculating the capacitance..... 
 

Offline istvan58

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Hello,

I got a new firmware from Hantek today by email,
"LCR2021061501.dfu", did not tried yet, will do in the following days.
I not see it this Fw in the Hantek website yet.

 

Offline hpw

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I got a new firmware from Hantek today by email,
"LCR2021061501.dfu", did not tried yet, will do in the following days.
I not see it this Fw in the Hantek website yet.


Please tell us whether the SMD cap reading gets not so nervous as on 10pF xx.yyyyy and each time after power whether we need a new calibration... :popcorn:
 

Offline istvan58

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hello.
I have some SMD caps but need to buy a kelvin clip for accurate measurement I think.
Now I need to use more for higher capacitor and inductance measurement.
 

Offline bob91343

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After reading through the thread I am realizing how lucky I am to have the GR 1658 automatic bridge.  It only measures at two frequencies, 100/120 Hz and 1 kHz.  It will measure capacitance, inductance, resistance, and D.

It also offers binning and tolerance checks.  I tried to use the dc bias feature but it didn't work for me.  It's only good up to 60 V anyway.

This unit is really accurate, around 0.1% I think.

I got it used without any test jigs.  I made one with a piece of double sided PC board so now I have 4 wire shielded measurements.
 


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